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Video Game Review: Wii U

Logan J. Fowler reveals all Wii need to know

Every few years, new video game systems are released around the holidays. Nintendo has capitalized on the next generation console race by releasing the Wii U, an upgrade from the Wii. The former Nintendo system was a huge hit, being able to appeal to gamers of all ages while providing the company with some of its best titles in its major franchises, most notable Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.

Released with minimal promotion or public knowledge of the machine, the Wii U is the first HD system that the Big N has put out. It’s a sleek looking rectangular game disc insertion console/hard drive. The real big thing about the system is the tablet, which is insanely light. You can play the system from your couch while your folks watch tv, or use the tablet as a controller for the television as you play the game. To be honest, it’s more fun to play the game on the tablet, but either way you choose, the visuals are pretty nice, but nothing still matching what the XBOX 360 or PS3 can output.

The system itself comes in two memory options, either 8GB (white) or 32 (the deluxe edition, which comes with a copy of Nintendo Land and is a sleek black). This storage space is insanely small for a system of this current year caliber, but Nintendo has always been behind the times in what is needed for a console to compete. You can save extra memory on an external hard drive in one of the two USB ports in the back of the system (good luck with your Rock Band peripherals), but if you don’t have one and you get the system you best scoop one up.

As far as what else the Wii U can do besides play games, there’s a bit to choose from. There are apps, or what are called “channels” on the main menu. YouTube, Amazon Instant, and Netflix are all there and ready for use. There’s also an option called “TVii” but that’s not available until sometime later this month. The Nintendo E Shop is limited right now but you can download games that are available for the system right onto the console, but it would be better to get the hard disc to conserve memory.

A frustrating option has to be updating your system to be able to play Wii games. I feel as if this option should just already be in place when you take the thing out of the box, but it’s not. The Wii U won’t play Gamecube games so either hang onto your purple boxes or Wii for that option. However all your Wii equipment will work for the Wii U so thankfully you won’t be dropping dollars left and right. It’s surprising that a classic controller for the Wii U costs as much as a game but here we are. You can save all your Wii date to a memory card which is simple enough. Also the console comes packed with its own sensor bar. 

Other than these main features, there’s really not much else to talk about. While I was overall satisfied with the Wii, I feel that the Wii U has a lot to live up to. The lack of promotion or hardcore lack of graphical upgrade will leave Nintendo fans wanting more, or asking too many questions. The pricing is strange (360 for an 8GB, 385 for 32GB and a game that fetches for 60 bucks packed in) and the launch library is weak (I will be discussing New Super Mario Bros Wii U in a separate review entirely). The system basically came out of nowhere and many are asking if the console has what it takes to grow not only in households but really as a contender for the Big N?

It’s too early to tell, and that seems to be the Nintendo theme these days. With the back log of big releases from the company, including the Gamecube, Wii, DS, and the 3DS, the systems have always grown better over time. I guess the Wii U might be in the same category, but as I have been a hardcore fanboy of Nintendo since childhood, I can’t help but feel disappointed in not only the lack of commercial push for the system, but also the “behind the times” hardware and sense of near lazy output that I’m sensing from a console that can do so much more. Let’s hope for better things as the future progresses.

Overall rating: C+



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